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PAINTINGS - Kerala Murals

Guruvayur Devaswom's Institute of Mural Painting

* Jul 2021
Kerala Murals - Pigments and glues prepared from materials obtained from nature, purified and mixed in definite proportions are applied on freshly prepared walls of temples, churches, palaces and houses. Brushes made of natural materials are used to apply the prepared pigments in dot and lines, over light washes if needed, to compose each figure. The resilience of the pigments offers strength and stability to the painting assuring long life to the work done. Anatomy of characters, including animals trees etc, are represented in a regionally stylized form. One panel might hold several scenes Separated by specific lines (manimala). Yellow, red, green, white and black are the most prominent hues seen in the murals of Kerala. Deities when drawn are mostly based on the invocatory verses found in the relevant ancient scriptures. When such a work is undertaken, a muralist is instructed to follow certain Observances and meditate up on th eproposed form. The various components in a panel remind us of iconography symbols as well as the patterns and figures done on floor using powdered natural pigments (kalamezhuthu), pointing towards the evolution of the mural style.

* Jul 2021
Kerala, often referred to as Godís own country has a very interesting history of mural making. Believed to have started in the 7th and 8th century; majorly influenced by Pallava art. The oldest Kerala style murals have been found at a rock cut temple of Thirunandikara, now in Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu which was probably made in the 9th or 10th century. There is some doubt about mural making in between 10th and 13th centuries but from the 14th to 16th century many were made and continue to this day after continuing  revival efforts.

The magnificent art of mural painting is well depicted in many temples across Kerala. The Vaddakumnathan temple at Thrissur, the Chemmanthita Siva temple, Thrissur, Kudamaloor, Kannur, Thodeekkalam, Kannur, the Sreevallabha temple, Thiruvalla the Mahadeva Siva temple, Ettamanoor, Pallikarup Mahavishnu temple, Mannarkad, Palakkad, the Padmanabhaswamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram, Guruvayur temple, Guruvayur, Vaikom temple, Kottayam,  among many others.
Source: Art of Kerala : magnificent murals, Soma Ghosh,